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MOSCOW, March 30. /TASS/. Legitimate representatives of east Ukraine’s self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics will set their own date for local elections, the parliamentary speaker of self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic said on Monday.
"Donbas [region of east Ukraine] voted for [Donetsk People’s Republic head Alexander] Zakharchenko and [Luhansk People’s Republic head Igor] Plotnisky — the deputies of the republics’ People's Councils. They should decide where and how the elections here will take place," Andrey Purgin told the Donetsk news agency, commenting on a statement by Sergey Levochkin, a Ukrainian parliamentary deputy from the Opposition Bloc.
Levochkin told Ukraine’s Inter television channel on Sunday there could be only one mechanism of holding the elections. "It is the Ukrainian law and Ukraine’s Central Election Commission which will be tasked to organise these elections and register their results," he said.
Purgin cautioned against trying "to impose unilateral decisions" on the two eastern republics, noting that peace agreements reached in Minsk, Belarus, last month "envisage coordination of all decisions and draft regulations related to Donbass with representatives of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics".
The Opposition Bloc’s initiatives allegedly aimed at implementing the Minsk agreements seemed "disturbing", Purgin added.
Elections in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, embattled by months of conflict in the country's east, are among the provisions of the peace deal struck on February 12 in Minsk after the Russian, Ukrainian, French, and German leaders met.
The deal, announced after more than 16 hours of discussions between Vladimir Putin, Petro Poroshenko, Francois Hollande and Angela Merkel, also envisaged immediate and full bilateral ceasefire, withdrawal of all heavy weapons from the front line, prisoner release and agreement for international observers to monitor the truce.
Among the terms of the deal were also a commitment to grant wider self-rule to the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, and calls for talks on their long-term status.
Earlier this month, Opposition Bloc deputies in Ukraine urged the Verkhovna Rada parliament to pass a law granting special status to the war-torn eastern regions, saying this should reflect proposals in the Minsk settlement. On March 25, the Opposition Bloc said it had registered a package of bills needed for the full implementation of the Minsk agreements. The so-called peace package consisted of laws on "restoring the banking system, amnesty for the participants of the conflict, social benefit payments in Donbass and other provisions stipulated in the Minsk agreements," its leader Yury Boyko said.